The scientific study of the English language at Erfurt University primarily focusses on present-day English and its major first- and second-language varieties around the world. The approach chosen is thus largely synchronic, i.e. seeks to provide students with an understanding of the language system as it is now. This does not only include the study of its core structural components, phonology, morphology and syntax, but also major aspects of language use as investigated in pragmatics and socio-linguistics.
In as far as knowledge of the history of a language can contribute to an understanding of the language system in its present state, diachronic aspects play a supportive role in many of our courses. Seminars of an explicitly historical orientation are regularly offered to those of our students who are interested in language development and language change.
Both research and teaching in English linguistics show a clear commitment to cognitive-functional approaches to language structure as well as to empirical, and especially corpus-linguistic, methods of its investigation.